Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Happy Second Birthday Amelie!

Her one year old birthday outfit still fits!

Some of those two years of Amelie are showing up on Mommy's face!

Amelie's favorite people: Leo, Eleanor, Calliope, and Annabelle

Birthday morning in pompom dress and with birthday doggie

Birthday family with the ice cream cake I made -- chocolate and vanilla with an Oreo crust
(both of my girls take after me as a child -- I refused to eat cake)

Sweet birthday girl

"Helping" Mommy fold the laundry -- modeling my socks as thigh-highs and wearing my
underwear sideways as a skirt. She's obsessed with dressing herself.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Snow Day Spent Entirely Indoors

Total concentration as she works with ooblek. 

Hanukkah house decorating! Better late than never!

Cuddles over morning milk

I'm so lucky that these two are so affectionate!

Teaching An Old Dog (and Her Young Pups) Some New Tricks

First off, Amelie has learned to count to ten. I'm especially impressed because I don't think she's heard counting (beyond three) all that often. I instituted a new rule recently wherein, after one reminder to not splash in the tub, a repeat splasher is bodily removed from the tub and forced to stand naked and wet on the bathmat for a count of ten before being returned back to the warm bath.

We've only done in a few times but apparently it made a big impression. She whispers the last two numbers in the video because my friend Jen, in an effort to help her, whispered "eight" to her so Amelie thought that was a clue that she was supposed to whisper.

Calliope, not to be outdone, has started writing words and sentences! Her school is very progressive (or old school, depending on your outlook) and doesn't believe in pushing children to read. So they only started studying the sounds of letters in January. And now, apparently, they are teaching the children to sound out words. Calliope seems enchanted with the idea.

Sorry it's sideways.
Written right to left, it says "thank you? (because she loves question marks, not because it's a 
question). I love (the) book." And there's a drawing of the sketchpad and colored pencils she
was given. 

I'm thrilled to watch the transformation into a reader (not there yet) and seeing the excitement and pride on her face when she figures things out. I am also, I note, a little bit relieved to see her start this work, even though, in theory, I support her school and their laid back approach entirely. I see them produce hundreds of students over the years who are bright and inquisitive and best of all, love going to school, so I know they are doing something right but it's still a little nerve wracking when it's your own kid.

As for me... Jamaica was transformative. I came back feeling like I had pressed a giant "reset" button. After missing my first two afternoon workouts because of hectic days at the clinic, and inspired by fellow SMC Sacha on the trip, who told me she gets up at 4:45 AM to work out before work... I started setting my alarm for 5 AM. And mostly getting up the very first time it goes off. And getting myself set to work out with very little wasting of time.

This requires going to bed earlier, and inspired again by Sacha, I'm making good progress here too. I set a bedtime alarm on my phone that reminds me and although I'm not where I want to be, I'm a lot better.

I also started a new workout program. I signed up for Burn and I input my preferences and voila... it sends me a new workout to do each day! It's fun having some variety to my workouts after doing T25 for so long.

Also, and this perhaps the biggest change... after writing a post to the SMC Forum about how to stop using nighttime snacking as an emotional crutch... I've committed to myself to eating dinner without distractions every night. For at least two weeks. Tonight was night two.

I did this exercise a few years ago, pre-kids, and it was really hard at first. I got very depressed initially. So I was worried about that happening this time around but actually, I am finding it much easier this time. It's kind of nice to sit down alone (I tried doing it with the kids two nights ago and my god, it's no fun AT ALL to eat with them -- all that whining and jumping up and down! no thank you!) at a nice clean table with a nice plate of food and just my thoughts for company.

I ended up getting really hungry after getting into bed and so I had a granola bar but hey, I didn't read or do anything else while I ate it. Progress!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Twenty Two and Twenty Three Months... Tons of Photos Because Who Can Remember What We've Been Up To?

As always, life is busy.

But I realized I'm doing well with my New Year's Resolution to be more present. Not much yelling nowadays. Today I got up and worked out at 5 am instead of doing it after work (for boring and complicated reasons) and it ended up being SO nice. Motivated me to go to bed earlier and it was lovely to feel less rushed at the end of the day. I used some of the time to cook my dinner with Amelie's "assistance" (among other things, she ate half the lime that was meant for my recipe!) and to read to Calliope.

We had a spectacular trip to Franklin D. Resort in Jamaica, where every room comes with a nanny (and an extra nanny, luckily for me, is only $25/day). We were with about 13 other SMC families. We had a blast! The girls loved the water and their nannies and I LOVED the opportunity to have my first real vacation in five and a half years! I took an exercise class every day and as a result, was exhausted at night and slept nine hours a night. Unheard of since becoming a mother! And it was fabulous to have other moms to gab with at the side of the pool, and to have child-free dinners with at night. And everyone understood that life is hectic and complicated and there were no grumbles if someone didn't show up for dinner. I made some lovely new friends and can't wait to go back next February!

Amelie is doing great. Remains utterly fearless. Slid down "Big Blue" -- the water slide at FDR -- without a trace of fear, laughing the whole way down. Plunges into the water without a care in the world. Happily dunks her face. Loves everyone but isn't a fan of separating from me. But if I set her on the path and let her toddler off with the nanny trailing her, she seemed perfectly content. 

I think her sentences aren't as long as some kids her age but I assume that's because of the fact that she's essentially bilingual -- her nanny mostly speaks Spanish to her. Which I'm pleased about. 

She does still have a tendency to swat or pull hair when one least expects it... but I'm learning to anticipate it just a little better. I try to "catch her" doing the right thing as much as possible, and to give lots of praise for that.

She regressed majorly with pottying while we were away but seems to have pretty much gotten back to where she was when we left. Still the occasional accident but not bad, I guess, for still less than two. 

Calliope is a delight. Very social, despite being one of the quieter kids, and unwilling to name a best friend or conceive of a party where she doesn't include everyone. I love that about her. She was a bit distant with the SMC kids at FDR, partly because the nannies were such darn good buddies that it was hard to bother with other kids. School is going great for her and life together is (mostly) just so darn pleasant. 

Ringing in the New Year with a shared love of donuts from Dough. 
Fellow SMC child Rian.

Babywearing baby

Being babies 

Calliope with two of her besties, Peyton and Maya.

Inspired by Leo's double headbands, everyone had to wear a headband.

Cookie decorating at a birthday party

Group effort creating Calliope's poster for the Women's March (with after school sitter Isabel).

The artist at work.
"Donald Trump: Stop Saying Mean Things About Girls And People With Dark Skin!
-- Calliope, Age 5"

Ice skating buddies. Alas, she didn't much like the lessons...
but did really well at free skate afterwards.
And really liked the hot chocolate with marshmallows, too.

Thumb/finger suckers Not-So-Anonymous

Sisters before Calliope's first big Broadway show

Amelie had a good time at home despite being left behind 
(and her howls of protest)

Times Square with Uncle Scott after the show. She was impressed. 

Snow Day Baking Buddies. Not everyone was wearing pants. 

Sleep Under Valentine's Day Party at Calliope's house -- our first time hosting a real party!
Everyone seemed to have a good time. This was after Valentine making and pinata smashing and cookie decorating...
everyone changed into jammies for a "movie" (Amazon Prime show) and popcorn. The "sleep under" part means that they
do everything EXCEPT sleep over.

Yet another bestie of Calliope's.

My delicious personal greeter after a long day of work

Our annual Valentine's Day card.

Celebrating Calliope's long awaited half birthday

First time on the big girl swings. Jamaica.

Proud to have her long awaited braids. 

Girls are in bed, babysitter is babysitting, and I'm off to an adults only dinner!
Franklin D Resort, Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Jamaican sunset

Fabulous nanny Karlene. This is the one that Bethany and Elsie loved. 
Elsie and Calliope would have shared her if they had been with us.

Fellow SMC blogger Tara!!!

Both our wonderful nannies! Because it turned out that one is not sufficient when you have an entirely fearless, water
loving toddler like my girl Amelie!

The beautiful spa at FDR.

The gorgeous beach at the resort next door (where we were welcome to swim). 
There's coral reef practically within spitting distance -- no need for a boat to get to it.

One of the treatment rooms at the Seagrape Spa at FDR.  Not only did the windows look directly out to the water but you could also hear waves crashing beneath you during your massage.

My big girl and me on our one (!) excursion off property. We went to see bioluminescent
algae. Pretty neat.

Our mutual photographer posted this gorgeous photo of Bethany on FB.
I thought of her a lot on this trip. She loved FDR so much and now I see why.
Forever grateful.